Foreign resident capital gains withholding 2017

The Australian Government made changes on 9 May 2017 to the withholding rate and threshold for the foreign resident capital gains withholding (FRCGW). The changes came into effect for all contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2017.

What is the foreign resident capital gains withholding?

The initial FRCGW scheme was introduced on 1 July 2016. It applied when sellers are foreign residents, and required buyers of property worth $2 million or more to withhold 10% of the purchase price, paying that sum to the ATO after settlement.

An exception to the withholding tax is when the seller provides the buyer with a Clearance Certificate. This is issued by the ATO and confirms that the seller is an Australian resident and that the buyer is therefore not required to withhold the payment.

What are the new capital gains tax rate and threshold?

The new changes will capture a much larger portion of the Australian property market.

The threshold of $2 million has been lowered to $750,000 and the rate of withholding tax has been increased to 12.5% of the purchase price.

The same exception applies when an Australian seller gives the buyer a Clearance Certificate.

Capital gains withholding: the consequences of non-compliance

If you are the buyer and you do not receive a Clearance Certificate from a foreign seller and fail to pay 12.5% of the purchase price to the ATO, you will become personally liable for that amount as a penalty.

What Spot On can do for you

When Spot On Conveyancing is acting on behalf of the seller, we will ensure that we identify all contracts over $750,000 and that sellers meet all requirements. We will make the application for the Clearance Certificate on behalf of Australian sellers. (Application forms are available on the ATO website.)

When we are acting on behalf of the buyer, we will ensure that the buyer obtains a Clearance Certificate before settlement on the property, wherever a Clearance Certificate is applicable.

DIY Conveyancing: Not such a great idea after all

DIY Conveyancing

DIY conveyancing kits and forms are readily available online. If you’ve found Spot On’s site through an online search, it’s likely you encountered ads and articles about DIY conveyancing along the way of your cyber travels.

You might also have been tempted by the thought of saving money. But it would surely be a a false economy to place your most valuable asset at risk. DIY conveyancing carries high, and to most of us, unacceptable risks.

Professional Conveyancing lawyers like at Spot On have years of training and experience. The services that qualified lawyers provide are not inexpensive, but they do represent good value. Using a cookie-cutter DIY kit could leave you exposed to unacceptable risk to do with what is probably your most valuable asset.

You risk your sale falling through if you are a seller and your purchase being a dud if you are a buyer. Go it alone and you have no support if and when things go wrong.

Property law and the requirements for conveyancing are constantly changing, and it is our business to keep abreast of these changing conditions. You may not know when your DIY Kit was created and what myriad factors you need to be across when you attempt to do your own conveyancing.

We are accustomed to dealing with the range of professionals whose work intersects with our own, such as mortgage brokers, property inspectors, real estate agents and banking professionals.

Having a professional conveyancing lawyer handle your property transactions will also save you stress. We not only have the skills, qualifications and experience to do the job effectively and safely, we also have record-keeping systems in place. With DIY conveyancing, you risk overwhelming yourself with paperwork and record-keeping.

DIY conveyancing could really only be a recommended choice if you absolutely cannot afford legal services. Thankfully, this rarely arises as sellers can pay from the proceeds of the sale and buyers can pay by making the conveyancing costs part of the total price of purchase.

Don’t place your most valuable asset at risk. Contact us today for professional services you can trust.

Spot On Conveyancing discusses 2017 real estate trends and risks

Trends in real estate for 2017

Spot On has been watching the trends in real estate in 2017 with interest, as well as the public discussions they have generated.

apartment building

The great Australian dream of home ownership is never far out of the news. That’s whether it is the Prime Minister warning borrowers about the likelihood of rates going up, or debate whether home-ownership is now out of reach for Gen Y and Millennials — and who’d be to blame if it is, their Boomer parents, or just themselves for over-spending on smashed avocado breakfasts at over-priced hipster cafes.

Property ownership certainly does have a unique place in the Australian way of life and aspirations. This won’t be going away, never mind any doom-mongering talk otherwise, not with around 500,000 properties changing hands each year, or according to figures published by the Reserve Bank of Australia. That’s around 6% of all housing stock in the country, every year.


Risks for young players: apartment over-supply and off-the-plan buying

While property prices in the capital cities, especially Sydney and Melbourne but also including Brisbane, are going sky-high, still there are vast numbers of first-time buyers as well as investors purchasing property.

We see the oversupply of apartments in inner Brisbane and consequent market imbalance as a risk to their value and ability to provide anticipated rental yields.

Another common pitfall we see is buying off-the-plan, with unwary buyers finding themselves locked into inflexible contracts that can then be very expensive for them to escape from.


How Spot On Conveyancing can help

Both of these kinds of risks can lead to serious financial consequences. Professional, informed and impartial advice such as we can provide at Spot On Conveyancing is essential before you sign any contracts. Your decisions about property ownership are too important and far-reaching not to be well-informed.

Contact Spot On Conveyancing today for friendly, highly trained and authoritative advice about all of your property ownership matters. We will ensure you safely navigate the complex waters of property buying and selling.

Cooling off periods

All sales of residential properties have as a legal requirement for the property transaction a cooling-off period of five days, unless they are exempt contracts. Certain conditions apply that are designed to protect the buyer and seller. Make sure you understand what you as a buyer must do if you wish to cancel the contract.

During the cooling off period, the buyer has the right to terminate the contract, although the seller can impose a penalty in the case the buyer has paid a deposit.

As the real estate industry is a regulated one, the Queensland Government offers information to the public about cooling off periods. Spot On Conveyancing summarises below the main points, and can assist you by:

  • advising whether a cooling off period applies to your contract
  • reviewing any contracts buyers may be asked to sign to waive or shorten the cooling off period
  • preparing documentation for sellers to waive or shorten the cooling off period.

The cooling off period starts the day the buyer receives a copy of the contract that has been signed by both parties. If the contract arrives on a weekend or public holiday, the cooling-off period starts the next business day.

Please note that the cooling-off period still applies if a representative takes it on the buyer’s behalf.

The cooling-off period ends at 5pm on the fifth day. The buyer must then follow through on the contract and buy the property – subject to the terms of the contract.

Exempt sales

Some contracts are exempt from cooling-off periods.  These are:

  • sales by auction
  • follow-up sales after an unsuccessful auction, under certain conditions
  • option contracts (or sales contracts formed as the result of an option contract).

Other circumstances for exemption:

  • publicly listed corporations
  • the State, and statutory bodies
  • buying at least three lots at the same time.

Cancelling sales

In order to cancel a sale contract, the buyer must give the seller written notice by 5pm of the fifth (final) day of the cooling off period. The seller may do deduct a penalty of up to 0.25% of the purchase price from the deposit, and must refund the balance of the deposit within 14 days.

Waiving or shortening the period

If the buyer wishes to waive or shorten the cooling-off period, they must put it in writing, stating they are waiving the cooling-off period entirely or that it will last until 5pm on a particular day.

Queensland buyers of residential property should be alert to the possibility that one of the documents associated with the contract of sale might have the effect of waiving or shortening their cooling-off period.

Such a document can be particularly difficult for buyers to identify when it is included with other documents and presented in a similar format. Be sure to carefully check all the documents attached to your contract of sale, as you may inadvertently deprive yourself of your legislative right to terminate a contract during the cooling-off period by signing such a document.

The deposit

The buyer must pay the deposit at the time set out in the contract. The deposit holder is usually the seller’s agent, and must put the deposit in a trust account This money cannot be accessed until:

  • the seller is entitled to the money on settlement day
  • thebuyer is entitled to the money because they lawfully cancelled the sale contract.

Don’t be a victim of property fraud

Beware identity fraud.

Identity theft is on the rise, and has been used to perpetrate property fraud in several recent cases. The methods used by fraudsters are also becoming more sophisticated. The onus is on all of us to take personal responsibility for protecting our identity, and also for checking the true identity of people posing as property owners.

The Queensland Government has published some guidelines to help you protect yourself and your business against property fraud, and we summarise the main points here.

Don’t put yourself, your clients or your business at risk.

Details vary in the recent cases, but they had in common that property was sold without the true owner’s consent. To prevent a fraudulent transaction, the onus is on real estate agents, sales people and auctioneers to thoroughly check a person’s identity before listing a property for sale.

Beware the following red flags, in isolation or especially in combination:

  • a recent change of address or other personal details, not provided until after instructions to sell
  • overseas vendors, or documents issued overseas or witnessed by people overseas
  • requests for funds to be sent to offshore accounts or accounts not usually used by the client
  • advice the sale is urgent due to unsubstantiated family illness or overseas investment opportunities
  • new generic email addresses, especially hotmail, yahoo or gmail.

The government guidelines recommend using a current title search, and verifying the basic characteristics of the property, such as its description, the full names of the owners, and whether it is owned by a legal entity such as a trust.

You are breaking the law if you ignore your responsibilities to check true ownership of a property, and its characteristics and approvals and compliance.

Manage risks

We recommend you devise, and ensure you and your team strictly adhere to, a documented procedure for handling contact and banking detail changes, escalating unusual occurrences and handling sales when the owners themselves are not able to be present in person. Keep yourself, your clients and your business safe by:

  • keeping accurate records
  • confirming key details (e.g., that signatures match)
  • conducting 100-point identity checks
  • keeping a register of client signatures
  • keeping records of any odd or suspicious interactions with clients
  • completing property sales in person wherever possible.

Buying ‘Off the plan’

Buying ‘off the plan’ with Spot On Conveyancing
Buying ‘off the plan’ is purchasing land or a home that doesn’t yet exist except on a proposed plan.

At Spot On Conveyancing we can guide you through purchasing ‘off the plan’. We are experienced in ‘off the plan’ purchases and can talk to you about the pros and cons and navigate you through the complex and sometimes confusing process. Stamp duty on ‘off the plan’ purchases can be particularly confusing, and we will ensure a smooth passage through the whole process.

Your first step is usually to sign an expression of interest form and deposit the initial payment into the sales agent’s account. The sales agent of seller will then provide a contract, which we will review for you, and a Disclosure Statement. We will then negotiate any changes to the contract on your behalf.

We can also advise you through your lender’s contract and any matters associated with it, including the cooling off period.

Spot On Conveyancing will also advise you through the duration of the construction period, such as Further Disclosure Statements outlining any changes that affect your property; and through the Sunset Date, the last date for the seller to register a separate title for the property.

Eligible homebuyers or first home buyers may be able to apply for a stamp duty concession on ‘off the plan’ homes. Stamp Duty is a tax levied by the state government which is payable by the buyer under contract.

Spot On Conveyancing will help you determine your eligibility – if you are not a first home buyer you may still be eligible if the property is to be your principal place of residence. There is no concession available if the property is an investment or purchased under a company or trust.

We will also guide you through paying it within 30 days from the registration of separate title or by settlement (whichever is earlier) and marking the contract as stamp duty paid.

At Spot On Conveyancing, we are highly experienced in this kind of property purchase and can ensure that your ‘off the plan’ purchase experience is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Contact us on the number above for all your conveyancing needs.


What is conveyancing anyways?

Spot On Conveyancing explains
The role of conveyancing is not always well understood. Spot On Conveyancing demystifies conveyancing and shows you what to look for when seeking conveyancing services.

Most simply put, conveyancing is the process of legal transfer of property ownership.

Conveyancing is carried out by licensed practitioners who are specialists in property law with specific qualifications. The complexity of property law demands this of practitioners, and you should ensure that your conveyancer is properly qualified to do your work.

Conveyancers may act on behalf of sellers or buyers. Their primary responsibility is to prepare all of the many legal documents that form the property transaction, including the contract of sale and vendor’s statement. They will also conduct all of the title and planning searches to meet legal disclosure obligations.

Conveyancers do the legal “leg work” that will help you make the best decisions whether you are a buyer or seller and help you navigate the whole process smoothly and successfully.  And although conveyancers are not usually directly involved with finance arrangements they can facilitate the processes with banks. Conveyancers can also help you determine what statutory fees you need to pay, which depends on such factors as the price of the property and the state or territory you purchased it in.

propertyThe duties of a buyer’s conveyancer include:

  • checking the contract
  • exchanging contracts with the seller’s conveyancer
  • advising the buyer about finance
  • checking the mortgage documents
  • preparing a statement of adjustments and settlement statement
  • arranging and attending settlements
  • lodging a notice of acquisition of land
  • notifying the council and water authority of the purchase

The duties of a seller’s conveyancer include:

  • preparing a vendor’s statement including any clauses in the contract
  • preparing a contract of sale
  • exchanging contracts with the buyer’s conveyancer
  • checking the transfer, statement of adjustments and settlement statement
  • preparing the statutory declaration about the value of chattels
  • attending settlement on the seller’s behalf
  • notifying the council and water authority of the sale

All of these tasks are complex for buyers or sellers trying to complete them on their own, and using a conveyancer can streamline the process.

Spot On Conveyancing are proud to offer a smooth process for sale and purchase of properties, helping you to a stress-free seamless transaction.

Contact us today on the number above for all your conveyancing needs.



Buying in Brisbane Property Boom? Don’t Lose Out.

There’s no denying Brisbane’s housing market is booming. Just take a drive anywhere around the CBD or suburbs and you’ll notice developments popping up everywhere. Housing developments, mid-level apartment blocks, townhouses, there seems to be an insatiable desire for quality homes right now. From the CBD, to West End, or out to The Gap amazing new homes are being developed to meet demand all over our city.

In fact, according to the Courier Mail, 29 Brisbane and the wider Southeast Queensland region is experiencing a surge in demand:


“The latest Hotspotting Price Predictor Index has picked the biggest chunk of

metropolitan Brisbane growth would come out of the Moreton Bay area. The Bay

toppled Logan City as the top municipality in the capital city region, holding 10 of

Brisbane’s 29 growth suburbs.”



But in a seller’s market it’s all too easy to rush into something, to not carry out all the due diligence and get into a deal that definitely doesn’t suit your needs.

But in Brisbane, conveyancing need not be a frustrating experience, Spot on Conveyancing is there to demystify the process and take care of everything for you – end-to- end.

Spot On Conveyancing’s team of experienced conveyancing solicitors will manage your purchase and be there for you 24/7. Yes, you read that bit right – we know full well how anxious the conveyancing process can be and we want you to rest assured we’re acting on your behalf at all times.

We’re a boutique conveyancing firm that punches well above our weight. We cover conveyancing in Brisbane, and out as far as Logan, Ipswich Gold Coast and Moreton Bay.

By using Spot On Conveyancing your purchase will proceed smoothly and quickly. And with our fixed price guarantee, you won’t get any nasty surprises, just the key to your new home.

Call us today – Spot on Conveyancing is Brisbane’s leading boutique conveyance company and one you can trust to secure your dream home at a price you can afford.

House & Land Conveyancing

Buying house & land packages has never been easier.

With the increase in demand for property and housing across Brisbane and its far-reaching suburbs, large scale developments are cropping up both North and South. Major developers such as Stockland are working in collaboration with home builders, such as Metricon and AVJennings, offering opportunities for families to secure affordable housing with attractive house & land packages.


Before committing to any house & land package, be sure to speak with a qualified and experienced house & land conveyancing firm such as Spot On Conveyancing. We can save you time and money by advising you on your rights and the pros and cons of buying house & land packages.


Take the time to visit local developments and display home villages to ensure you know what you’re getting for your money. Be sure to ask questions to gain a clear indication of the costs involved. Speak with lenders to secure pre-approval loans.


Once you have made the decision on where you want to buy and who you want to build with, be sure to liaise with your chosen house & land conveyancing experts. Seeking legal advice before signing any contracts is highly recommended. Spot On Conveyancing will review your contracts and documents, making adjustments, adding in terms and conditions when appropriate and bringing to your attention areas of concern. We will ensure that everything is above board and legally documented before you sign.

Once contracts have been signed and we receive the contracts, Spot On Conveyancing will manage the tedious legalities and paperwork associated with finalising your purchase. We have gained a reputation for our attention to details, providing friendly, honest and reliable house & land conveyancing at a fixed price. You will have peace of mind knowing that we are an independent conveyancing firm acting in your best interests.



Narangba Heights – One of the latest major development projects to sweep across Brisbane. This major development in the ever-expanding Moreton Bay Shire will bring affordable housing to satisfy the growing needs of the increasing population migrating to Queensland.

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity through poor management.

To ensure that you are ready to proceed when you find the right place at the right price, conduct prior research. This should include securing pre-approval finance and engaging the services of a conveyancer or, at a minimum, knowing which professional conveyancing firm you are going to use. This will save you time and frustration when you find the perfect place and are ready to proceed.

You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because you couldn’t decide on, or find the right professional conveyancing firm for your needs.


Spot On Conveyancing is an exclusive Brisbane-based firm with a sole practice in professional conveyancing. With this exclusivity comes expertise in all areas of managing conveyancing contracts from start to finish for clients across Brisbane and Queensland.

We offer a FIXED PRICE conveyancing fee for convenience

An independent conveyancing firm, we have your best interests in mind always

We have successfully helped hundreds of families secure their dreams across Brisbane and Queensland

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or an experienced home buyer, the benefits of having a team of experienced conveyancing lawyers complete your transaction on your behalf is immeasurable. Our team of Brisbane conveyancing lawyers will review your contracts prior to signing to ensure that everything is above board. We will keep you informed throughout your settlement process and will organise all standard searches, liaising with lending institutes and attending settlement on your behalf.

For all your professional conveyancing needs, contact Spot On Conveyancing today!